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Review: Reads (Cerebus Vol. 9)

August 4, 2009

Or: Suenteus Po Expains it All for You

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From Wikipedia…

Third part of the story-arc Mothers and Daughters. This book primarily consists of two long text pieces. The first revolves around an author of “reads”, heavily illustrated books in Cerebus’s world. In this story, there is a strong thread about the dangers of commercial success and “selling out”. It is generally viewed to be Sim’s treatise on why independent comic publishing is preferable to publishing houses.  The series moves from this storyline to a long essay attributed to Viktor Davis, a fictional “reads” author. This essay puts forth a theory on the nature of the genders, describing “the Female Void” focused on feeling, and “the Male Light” focused on reason. These two stories are accompanied by a long discussion between Cirin, Astoria, Cerebus, and Suenteus Po. Po gives information about aardvarks, including that all aardvarks have Cerebus’ “magnifier” quality, and attempts to convince each of the others to abandon their pursuits of power and return to what they enjoy doing most, then leaves them to their fates. Astoria is convinced and also leaves, but not before giving Cerebus information about her history with Cirin and also informing him of his hermaphrodite nature. Cerebus and Cirin then engage in a long and brutal fight, which leads to the beginning of another ascension.

Part the first – the comic part

I enjoyed the Suenteus Po exposition-fest (always nice to clear up confusion),

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and I did like Sim letting Astoria go out on something like a grace note.

The revelation that Cerebus is a hermaphodite comes here as well…

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What?  Like the talking aardvark wasn’t enough for you jaded graphic novel readers?

The latter half of the comic dealing with the fight between Cerebus & Cirin was appropriately brutal (though headache inducing in parts).  Had I the means (and the balls – telling someone to fix his life’s work; how gauche), I’d ask Sim not to go nuts with the “drawing in the typography” stuff – it’s a nice emphasis once in a while, but lots of it gets the average reader like me lost.

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Part the Second – the text pages

Fine – he writes about selling out – many artists do.  But then he goes into the Male Void section of this essay.  I can’t vouch for the veracity of what he talks about vis-a-vis Alan Moore (to name but one example) , but is the point Sim making in this essay the same one that Kim Du Toit made here…

http://www.theothersideofkim.com/index.php/essays/41/

albeit from a different angle?

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